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HKIS Students Uncover New Passions, “Dance Through the Plague Year”

Jaeryung Park
April 7, 2020

Since the Coronavirus outbreak, HKIS and most schools around the world have switched their learning environment to virtual. It’s been almost ten weeks since HKIS students have started “zooming” into their classes. While this may be a more stressful time for students, other students are definitely taking advantage of this unexpected time. In a reference to the dancing plague of 1518 in which citizens of Strasbourg danced uncontrollably in the streets, some AP Lang students have taken to calling this process of discovering new passions “dancing through the plague year”.

Many students have used this time to recenter themselves through hobbies they otherwise might not have had the time to develop.

“I have dedicated a lot of time to cooking and baking, socializing with my family, and working on my art,” said Amanda Cheung (12). “Additionally, virtual learning has allowed me to catch up on sleep and work on my senior project—using scientific phenomena to create aesthetic and yummy dishes.”

Some students have also been working on improving their techniques in specific fields. Vikram Krishna (10) said, “I have had quite a bit of time to improve my programming abilities and to practice piano. There have been many opportunities to do this online and with various courses available for free.”

As an avid member of many of the tech clubs at the school, he added that the Robotics club has been hosting virtual training sessions that have been helpful for its members.

The flexibility of virtual learning has not only allowed students to focus and explore further with their passions and hobbies, but for Nadia Miller (10), it also created an opportunity to reconnect and rethink about our community.

“I realized that I should take the initiative and make the most of my time in isolation by attempting to help others around the world. I’m organizing a project to collect donations to make hazmat suits, as well as other equipment, for the hospital staff in Indonesia,” she explained. Her donation page can be found here.

Nadia continued, “This project is close to my heart not only because I am part Indonesian, but also because our helper is from there.”

Eunice Lai (10) also shared her experience and the struggles she faced for the past two months in Malaysia, which was, unfortunately, a decision out of her hands. Having grown up in Hong Kong, she found herself isolated in Malaysia with little to keep her company. Her dad, noting her love for art, bought her several pairs of Nike AirForce 1s and supplies so she could paint them to pass time. 

“At first I didn’t like the idea, but 2 weeks in, I painted my first pair of shoes and found that it was actually quite fun,” she said. “Then my custom shoe business was born. I would spend hours exploring Instagram and Pinterest for new shoe ideas. My business started off pretty slow, but then the past month I got over 5 orders!”

Despite this being an opportunity for students to discover more about themselves and their passions, it is, of course, an unfortunate situation for students who also had high hopes for what second semester would bring.

Amanda, who will be graduating this year, added, “I was really looking forward to enjoying my last semester before graduating, but I didn’t spend it the way I had hoped to. I really hope to get back to school soon in order to enjoy the last moments of my senior year and spend time with my friends.”

By far, the most irreplicable aspect of school life is being able to socialize with peers; however, virtual learning and the new governmental regulations have made this increasingly difficult.

“Being a new student who arrived this semester, I haven’t really had the opportunity to get to know many people at school yet, and online school makes it hard to create connections with other people,” said Eunice.

This unexpected pandemic has forced people around the world to make difficult decisions and find new ways to overcome some of the unseen challenges, such as through new journeys of self-discovery. Just be sure to always wash your hands!

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